Women's Empowerment: Standard Chartered's Micro-Enterprise and Upskilling Initiative

By auther pic. CSRBOX

March 7, 2024

Women's Empowerment: Standard Chartered's Micro-Enterprise and Upskilling Initiative

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered Bank has undertaken an extraordinary initiative to empower women from marginalized communities in India using presenting them get the right of entry to to livelihood opportunities. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity India, the bank ambitions to impact nearly a thousand women from the states of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Odisha.

The application, "Empowering Women and Improving Life through Livelihood Interventions," equips girls with essential abilities training, leadership improvement, and access to microfinance to help them set up micro-businesses for extra income technology. This is carried out via mobilizing and strengthening self-help corporations (SHGs) of ladies throughout 85 villages, enabling collective agency for social and economic trade.

Need for Women's Empowerment

Women's empowerment is critical for India's development. However, girls, mainly those from marginalized backgrounds, face systemic barriers that restrict their right of entry to schooling, capabilities education, and employment possibilities. Lack of economic resources in addition restricts them from exploring entrepreneurial capacity.

This is contemplated in India's terrible overall performance on exertions pressure participation, profits degrees, and entry to credit score for women. Discriminatory socio-cultural norms that discourage women from stepping out for paintings exacerbate those challenges.

Standard Chartered Bank's software targets to tackle those problems by way of creating and permitting surroundings for women's monetary participation. Access to finance, livelihood talent training, and management improvement are important levers for empowering ladies. The program adopts a bottom-up, network-based totally method to build girls's cooperation and shift social attitudes.

Key Components

The critical additives of Standard Chartered's women empowerment software are:

Self-Help Group Formation and Strengthening: The application's foundation is organizing girls into collective systems for peer learning, help, and collaboration. Eighty-5 new self-assist companies, with membership between 10-20 ladies every, have been shaped throughout task villages.

Livelihoods and Skills Training: Identifying girls's abilities and options, the program offers customized technical and vocational education to enable income generation. Training packages protecting agriculture, meal processing, garment making, masonry, and so forth, have been performed up to now. Marketing competencies and commercial enterprise improvement workshops empower women to set up their micro-companies.

Leadership and Rights Awareness: Recognizing the significance of growing leadership capacity and self-notion amongst girls, this system has schooling on subjects like gender sensitization, rights, and entitlements, public speaking, and so forth. Women are coached to grow to be network leaders and changemakers.

Access to Micro-credit: Lack of financial resources is a vast barrier to entrepreneurship amongst marginalized women. To address this, Standard Chartered facilitated linkages with monetary establishments, and now, over three hundred girls have accessed credit starting from INR 35,000 to INR 50,000 to invest in their micro-organisations.

The interventions are grassroots-targeted, tailor-made to women's contexts, and added through neighborhood NGO partnerships controlled by means of Habitat for Humanity India. The program's goal is to engender systemic shifts in socio-monetary systems by empowering ladies to become financially independent and realize their full potential.

Building Leadership and Collective Capacity

In addition to economic empowerment through skills and enterprise development, the program focuses significantly on social empowerment by building solidarity, collective capacity, and leadership qualities among women. This enables them to gain voice and agency to claim their rights and entitlements.

Over 50 women leaders have emerged from among the SHGs who are leading community actions on issues like violence against women, child marriage, girls' education, health, sanitation, etc., in their respective villages. They have been linked to block and district-level forums to integrate grassroots women's perspectives into local development planning processes.

Exposure visits, interface meetings with government agencies, and participation in village council meetings and cluster-level conventions and rallies have helped reinforce their skills and confidence to carry out community mobilization, collective bargaining, and civic engagements.

Mainstreaming Gender in Value Chains

Efforts are underway through multi-stakeholder engagements to link women-led enterprises with government and private sector sourcing, supply chains, and marketing channels. The aim is to mainstream women producers, build scale, and enhance efficiency.

For instance, 30 women undertaking mushroom farming were connected to Mother Dairy's Safal procurement network in Maharashtra. Basket-weaving SHGs are linked to state handicraft corporations for large orders and scale production. Discussions are being held with agri-business companies, fabric mills, supermarkets, etc., to integrate other women-led micro-enterprises into their value chains.

Partnership with NABARD is also being leveraged under their producer collectives program to provide further business incubation, technological access, and financial support to mature SHGs for upgrading their enterprises. Such market integrations are helping women achieve some pricing power, sustained incomes, and avenues for continued growth, resulting in economic advancement.

Impact Created

In its very first year, Standard Chartered Bank's program for women empowerment through micro-enterprise development has started to show tremendous impact.

969 women across 85 villages have benefited from skills training, enterprise development support, and access to micro-credit so far. The program has been effective in reaching a large number of underserved women and equipping them with critical resources for economic participation.

The self-help group ecosystem has strengthened considerably, with 85 new groups formed and over 20 existing groups undergoing capacity building. With membership ranging from 10-20 women, over 1200 women are now part of peer support and learning platforms that foster financial inclusion.

Skills training has been a core pillar, with over 15 technical and vocational programs delivered based on local needs assessment. Whether agriculture, garment making, or masonry, tailored modules are helping women create livelihoods in diverse areas. Over 600 women have also attended leadership camps and rights awareness workshops to develop managerial and life skills.

Access to micro-credit has unlocked women's entrepreneurial potential, with over 300 women receiving small loans to establish their enterprises. The average loan size is INR 40,000. These enterprises now supplement women's household income significantly. Our interactions suggest at least a 30% average monthly income rise with positive profitability visible within eight months for most women.

The program is delivering on economic outcomes but also positive social transformation. Based on their testimonies during field visits, we see Greater self-confidence, decision-making ability, and financial awareness among women. Over 85 women have emerged as micro-entrepreneurs and community leaders, inspiring many more. Some women are also shifting gender stereotypes by entering non-traditional livelihoods like masonry, which is encouraging.

When asked about plans, 58% of women shared ambitions to expand the business, and 17% wanted to open new revenue streams, signaling promising entrepreneurial mindsets. Women can contribute significantly to communities with the right resources and an enabling environment.

The first phase results validate Standard Chartered Bank's women's economic empowerment model. As the program expands further, we want to make a broader impact. The outcomes showcase how women's empowerment and India's growth story are closely interlinked.

Also Read: Driving Quality Healthcare: Toyota Kirloskar's Partnership with Byramangala Primary Health Centre


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